Texas Point System and Surcharges for CDL Drivers

In 2003, the Texas Legislature passed the Driver Responsibility Program, which authorizes the Texas Department of Public Safety (“DPS”) to assess penalties for any individual, whether they hold a CDL or not, based on types and frequencies of certain traffic violation convictions. Specifically, DPS assesses “Surcharges,” which can be assessed in two ways, including Point System and Conviction based.

The Texas Point System allows DPS to assess points for convictions of moving violations. “Moving” violations are defined as “an act committed in connection with the operation of a motor vehicle on a public street or highway, which constitutes a hazard to traffic and is prohibited by state law or city ordinance.” Not all “moving” violations are assessed points, but they may be considered for driver license suspensions under the habitual violator rule. A chart published in the Texas Administrative Code detailing the list of “moving” violations that are assessed points is set forth below.

After a moving violation conviction is added to a driving record, points are assessed and remain on the driving record for three (3) years from the date of conviction.  After three (3) years, the points are removed. Two (2) points are assessed for each moving traffic violation and three (3) points are assessed for each moving traffic violations that resulted in a crash. Additionally, there are some other specific three (3) point violations, including excessive speeding and violations of child safety regulations. Individuals who have six (6) or more points are assessed a $100.00 Surcharge, with an additional $25.00 Surcharge for each point over six (6).

Surcharges can also be assessed for convictions of specific offenses. Individuals who receive convictions for the following offenses are assessed an annual Surcharge for three (3) years from the date of conviction for the following amounts:In 2003, the Texas Legislature passed the Driver Responsibility Program, which authorizes the Texas Department of Public Safety (“DPS”) to assess penalties for any individual, whether they hold a CDL or not, based on types and frequencies of certain traffic violation convictions. Specifically, DPS assesses “Surcharges,” which can be assessed in two ways, including Point System and Conviction based.

The Texas Point System allows DPS to assess points for convictions of moving violations. “Moving” violations are defined as “an act committed in connection with the operation of a motor vehicle on a public street or highway, which constitutes a hazard to traffic and is prohibited by state law or city ordinance.” Not all “moving” violations are assessed points, but they may be considered for driver license suspensions under the habitual violator rule. A chart published in the Texas Administrative Code detailing the list of “moving” violations that are assessed points is set forth below.

After a moving violation conviction is added to a driving record, points are assessed and remain on the driving record for three (3) years from the date of conviction.  After three (3) years, the points are removed. Two (2) points are assessed for each moving traffic violation and three (3) points are assessed for each moving traffic violations that resulted in a crash. Additionally, there are some other specific three (3) point violations, including excessive speeding and violations of child safety regulations. Individuals who have six (6) or more points are assessed a $100.00 Surcharge, with an additional $25.00 Surcharge for each point over six (6).

Surcharges can also be assessed for convictions of specific offenses. Individuals who receive convictions for the following offenses are assessed an annual Surcharge for three (3) years from the date of conviction for the following amounts:

No Automobile Insurance
$   250.00/year
$   750.00 total
Driving While License Invalid 
$   250.00/year
$   750.00 total
No Driver License
$   100.00/year
$   300.00 total
Driving While Intoxicated (1st)
$1,000.00/year
$3,000.00 total
Driving While Intoxicated (2+) 
$1,500.00/year
$4,500.00 total
Driving While Intoxicated (BAC .16+)
$2,000.00/year
$6,000.00 total


After a Surcharge is assessed, it must be timely paid. If not paid on time, DPS will immediately suspend your driver license. In most cases, your driver license can quickly be reinstated with payment of the surcharge.

The biggest problem with surcharge suspensions is that if you are stopped for a traffic citation during a surcharge suspension, you may receive a citation for Driving While License Invalid. A conviction of that citation, as shown above, causes the assessment of a $750.00 surcharge, thus aggravating the current surcharge suspension. For CDL drivers, this situation is devastating, causing an automatic suspension of your CDL.

All Texas driver’s licenses, including Commercial Driver’s Licenses, are issued by The Texas Department of Public Safety, which imposes severe penalties for CDL holders who are convicted of traffic violations. Not only are there significant financial penalties, but more importantly, there are temporary and lifetime suspensions of commercial driving privileges for convictions of certain traffic violations and/or a combination of traffic violations.

Texas Administrative Code

TITLE 37: PUBLIC SAFETY AND CORRECTIONS
PART 1: TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
CHAPTER 15: DRIVER LICENSE RULES
SUBCHAPTER D: DRIVER IMPROVEMENT
RULE §15.89: Moving Violations

(a) Moving violations are defined as an act committed in connection with the operation of a motor vehicle on a public street or highway, which constitutes a hazard to traffic and is prohibited by state law or city ordinance.

(b) A list of traffic offenses that constitute a moving violation is available in Table 1.

Attached Graphic

(c) Table 1 also indicates the moving violations that will be assessed points under the Driver Responsibility Program, Texas Transportation Code (TRC), Chapter 708, Subchapter B.

(1) Not all moving violations are assessed points under the Driver Responsibility Program, however, they may be considered for Habitual Violator action under TRC, §521.292(a)(3).

(2) Moving violation convictions that are assessed specific surcharges pursuant to Texas Transportation Code, §§708.102 (intoxicated driver offenses), 708.103 (driving while license invalid or without financial responsibility), and 708.104 (driving without valid license including no commercial driver license, driving without the proper commercial license endorsement and driving without the proper motorcycle endorsement), will not be assessed points under the Driver Responsibility Program.


Source Note: The provisions of this §15.89 adopted to be effective June 22, 2004, 29 TexReg 5945; amended to be effective November 28, 2005, 30 TexReg 7889; amended to be effective June 8, 2006, 31 TexReg 4659; amended to be effective July 11, 2010, 35 TexReg 5899

Figure: 37 TAC §15.89(b) 

Arrest Title
Driver
Responsibility
Points

 
Aggravated assault with motor vehicle
Yes
Allow passenger to stand/sit improperly on a school bus
Yes
Bus driver failed to activate warning signal/equipment
Yes
Bus failed to stop at RR crossing
Yes
Bus shifting gears while crossing RR tracks
Yes
Carry motorcycle passenger under 5; except in side car
Yes
Changed lane when unsafe
Yes
Child passenger safety seat offense
Yes
Coasting
Yes
Coasting (truck, truck tractor or bus, specify) with clutch disengaged
Yes
Consume alcohol while driving
Yes
Criminal negligent homicide with motor vehicle--1st or 2nd degree
Yes
Crossed RR with heavy equipment without notice
Yes
Crossed RR with heavy equipment without stop (or safety)
Yes
Crossing fire hose without permission
Yes
Crossing physical barrier
Yes
Cut across driveway to make turn
Yes
Cut corner left turn
Yes
Cut in after passing
Yes
Did not use designated lane or direction
Yes
Disregard solid green turn signal arrow
Yes
Disregard warning signs or barricades
Yes
Disregarded flashing red signal (at stop sign, etc.)
Yes
Disregarded flashing yellow signal
Yes
Disregarded lane control signal
Yes
Disregarded no lane change sign
Yes
Disregarded no passing zone
Yes
Disregarded police officer
Yes
Disregarded RR crossing gate or flagman
Yes
Disregarded signal at RR crossing
Yes
Disregarded traffic control device
Yes
Disregarded turn marks at intersection
Yes
Disregarded warning sign at construction
Yes
Drive into block where fire engine stopped
Yes
Driving around barricades
Yes
Driving under influence
No
Driving under influence (DUI)--minor
Yes
Driving under influence of drugs
No
Driving while impaired
No
Driving while intoxicated > 0.16
No
Driving while intoxicated with child younger than 15 yoa
No
Driving while intoxicated--felony
No
Driving while intoxicated--juvenile
No
Driving while intoxicated--misdemeanor
No
Driving while intoxicated--on beach
No
Driving while intoxicated--probated
No
Driving while intoxicated--under 21
No
Driving while license disqualified--CMV
No
Driving while license suspended under provisions of DL laws
No
Driving while license suspended--SR
No
Drove center lane (not passing, not turning left)
Yes
Drove on (or across) streetcar tracks where prohibited
Yes
Drove on sidewalk
Yes
Drove on wrong side--RR crossing
Yes
Drove on wrong side of approaching bridge
Yes
Drove on wrong side of divided highway
Yes
Drove on wrong side of road
Yes
Drove on wrong side road approaching intersection
Yes
Drove on wrong side road approaching RR grade crossing
Yes
Drove on wrong side road awaiting access to ferry
Yes
Drove onto (or from) controlled access highway where prohibited
Yes
Drove through safety zone
Yes
Drove to left of rotary traffic island
Yes
Drove without lights--when required
Yes
Drove wrong way in designated lane
Yes
Drove wrong way on one-way roadway
Yes
Endorsement violation CDL
No
Fail stop proper place-flash red signal
Yes
Fail to control speed
Yes
Fail to dim headlights--following
Yes
Fail to dim headlights--meeting
Yes
Fail to drive in single lane
Yes
Fail to give hand signals when required
Yes
Fail to give info/render aid
No
Fail to give one-half of roadway
Yes
Fail to keep to right on mountain road
Yes
Fail to pass left safely
Yes
Fail to pass met vehicle to right
Yes
Fail to pass to right safely
Yes
Fail to signal for stop
Yes
Fail to signal required distance before turning
Yes
Fail to signal turn
Yes
Fail to signal with turn indicator
Yes
Fail to sound horn--mountain road
Yes
Fail to stop--designated point--at stop sign
Yes
Fail to stop--designated point--at yield sign
Yes
Fail to stop and render aid--felony
No
Fail to stop and render aid--misdemeanor
No
Fail to stop at marked RR crossing
Yes
Fail to stop at proper place (at traffic light)
Yes
Fail to stop at proper place (flashing red signal)
Yes
Fail to stop at proper place (not at intersection)
Yes
Fail to stop for approaching train
Yes
Fail to stop for school bus (or remain stopped, specify)
Yes
Fail to stop for streetcar--or stop at wrong location
Yes
Fail to stop--emerging from alley, driveway or bldg.
Yes
Fail to use due care for pedestrian
Yes
Fail to use proper headlight beam
Yes
Fail to yield at stop intersection
Yes
Fail to yield at yield intersection
Yes
Fail to yield for blind or incapacitated person
Yes
Fail to yield right of way
Yes
Fail to yield right of way from private road
Yes
Fail to yield row at open intersection (specify type)
Yes
Fail to yield row leaving (private drive, alley, building)
Yes
Fail to yield row on green arrow signal
Yes
Fail to yield row on green signal
Yes
Fail to yield row on left at obstruction
Yes
Fail to yield row to emergency vehicle
Yes
Fail to yield row to pedestrian at signal intersection
Yes
Fail to yield row to pedestrian in crosswalk
Yes
Fail to yield row to pedestrian in crosswalk--no signal
Yes
Fail to yield row to pedestrian on sidewalk
Yes
Fail to yield row to pedestrian turning right or left at intersection
Yes
Fail to yield row--changing lanes
Yes
Fail to yield row--turning left (at intersection, alley, private road or driveway)
Yes
Fail to yield row--turning right on red signal
Yes
Fail to yield to vehicle in intersection
Yes
Fail to yield to vehicle leaving highway
Yes
Failed to give way when overtaken
Yes
Failed to signal lane change
Yes
Fleeing from police officer
Yes
Following ambulance
Yes
Following fire apparatus
Yes
Following too closely
Yes
Following too closely--caravan
Yes
Following too closely--truck
Yes
Head lamps glaring not adjusted
Yes
Heavy equipment disregarded signal of train
Yes
Illegal backing
Yes
Illegal pass on right
Yes
Illegally passed streetcar
Yes
Impeding traffic
Yes
Improper passing
Yes
Improper turn
Yes
Improper turn or stop hand signal
Yes
Improper use of auxiliary driving lamps
Yes
Improper use of auxiliary passing lamps
Yes
Improper use of lighting--hwy. equip.
Yes
Improper use of spot lamps
Yes
Improper use of turn indicator
Yes
Increased speed while being overtaken
Yes
Interfere with streetcar
Yes
Intoxication assault
No
Intoxication assault motor vehicle
No
Intoxication manslaughter
No
Intoxication manslaughter motor vehicle
No
Involuntary manslaughter with motor vehicle
Yes
Lack of caution on green arrow signal
Yes
Leaving scene of accident
Yes
Made U-turn on curve or hill
Yes
Negligent collision
Yes
No commercial driver license (CDL)
No
No double trailer endorsement (CDL)
No
No driver license
No
No hazmat endorsement (CDL)
No
No motorcycle endorsement
No
No passenger vehicle endorsement (CDL)
No
No tank vehicle endorsement (CDL)
No
No school bus endorsement (CDL)
No
Obstructed view through windshield
Yes
Obstructing traffic
Yes
Open Container DRIVER
Yes
Operate school bus over passenger design capacity
Yes
Operate school bus with door open
Yes
Operate vehicle more than one passenger-minor
Yes
Operate vehicle where prohibited
Yes
Operate vehicle with child in open bed
Yes
Passed streetcar on left without reducing speed or without caution
Yes
Passed vehicle stopped for pedestrian
Yes
Passed--insufficient clearance
Yes
Passengers/load obstruct driver's view or control
Yes
Passing authorized emergency vehicle
Yes
Permitted/operated unsafe vehicle
Yes
Person(s) riding in trailer or semi-trailer
Yes
Prohibited motor vehicle on controlled-access highway
Yes
Racing--drag racing--acceleration contest, etc.
Yes
Ran red light
Yes
Ran stop sign
Yes
Reckless driving
Yes
Restriction violation--CDL
Yes
Slower vehicle failed to keep to right
Yes
Speed under minimum
Yes
Speeding
No
Speeding > 10% above posted speed limit
Yes
Speeding--15 miles or over (CDL)
Yes
Speeding--school zone
Yes
Too many riders on motorcycle
Yes
Turned across dividing section
Yes
Turned left from wrong lane
Yes
Turned right from wrong lane
Yes
Turned right too wide
Yes
Turned so as to impede or interfere with streetcar
Yes
Turned when unsafe
Yes
Unauthorized use of siren, bell or whistle
Yes
Unsafe speed (too fast for conditions)
Yes
Unsafe start
Yes
Unsafe start from parked, stopped or standing position
Yes
Use of school bus signal for wrong purpose
Yes
Use wireless device while driving bus
Yes
Use wireless device while driving--minor
Yes
Use wireless device in school zone
Yes
Veh. hauling explosives (or flammable materials) failed to stop at RR crossing
Yes
Veh. hauling explosives failed to reduce speed at RR crossing
Yes
Vehicle without required equipment or in unsafe condition
Yes
Violate DL restriction
Yes
Violate DL restriction on occupational license
Yes
Violate operating hours-minor
Yes
Violated out of service order
Yes
Violated out-of-service order hazmat and/or passenger
Yes
Wrong side road--not passing
Yes
Wrong side, 4 or more lane, two-way roadway
Yes


A .PDF document of the points system is published in the Texas Administrative Code detailing the list of “moving” violations that are assessed points is set forth.